Grant support for new ideas for offshore renewables to create more than 200 new jobs

15th November 2016

Businesses that have served the 50-year-old oil & gas industry should consider converting that expertise to the growing offshore renewables sector during this extended downturn, the new project manager of a £6million grant fund for offshore innovations said.

The SCORE grant fund aims to create more than 200 jobs by helping companies develop their innovations and ideas to bring down the cost of offshore renewables.

Robert Bush, SCORE project manager, said: “The East of England needs another industry to pin its colours to. Offshore renewables could well be it. We have the skills, we have the workforce and oil & gas can easily turn its hand to offshore wind.

“The oil & gas supply chain has a long and proven history of providing quality items for the offshore energy industry to a high standard with pressure to reduce costs.

“Companies have the knowledge and experience to diversify and move into offshore renewables at a time when the industry has been badly affected for two years and is continuing.

“SCORE is a fantastic opportunity for these companies and for the East to become firmly ensconced in offshore renewables and build a lasting legacy for companies across the supply chain.”

Grants are now available to companies across England with fewer than 250 employees, providing they can prove their work brings economic benefits to the East of England counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

The application was simple and quick, with a guarantee that suitable applications would be presented to a grant panel for decision within 10 days, Mr Bush said.

Successful applicants will also receive support from enterprise specialists Nwes and energy industry experts at Nautilus Associates, as well as technical support from Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult,) leading renewable technology experts with world-class testing laboratories and facilities.

Mr Bush was at Westminster this week for the launch of Offshore Wind Week at a reception with Renewable UK and energy minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe.

“It was a great opportunity to promote what SCORE is doing to support the industry and get the message across about what it offers to both the supply chain and the developers.”

Applications and request for advice about their ideas are being received by the SCORE team, which also consists of Ian Bird, business advisor, and Matt Holden, contractual manager, all based at OrbisEnergy, Lowestoft, with two more in Cambridge and Essex, Chris George and Pauline Prockter.

Mr Bush, a biologist, joined Nwes as SCORE project manager last month with experience in the public and private sector.

At Gardline Environmental, he was environmental project manager on North Sea oil and gas projects, latterly, on a big multi-client campaign in Angola.

Previously he was with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Lowestoft as a fisheries survey manager. He has a degree in aquaculture and fisheries management and started his career managing displays at Great Yarmouth’s Sea Life Centre.

“This SCORE project differs from the first SCORE because it isn’t just open to companies in the four counties in East Anglia, it is now nationwide, as long as economic benefits can be seen to be here in East Anglia.

“It is exciting and not only can we market the excellent services it provides but we can get businesses from outside East Anglia together with those inside East Anglia. It is about gaining momentum and about stamping Lowestoft and East Anglia as a proper hub for offshore renewables.

SCORE is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is open to small and medium-sized companies with an annual turnover of less than 50 million euros. Grants are available for up to 40% of eligible costs or £50,000, whichever is the lower, with a minimum grant of £2,500. Start-up and established companies in the four counties can apply.

The funding is designed to help companies in a wide range of areas, including research and development, collaboration with universities and research bodies, securing patents, acquiring specialist equipment or services and investigating the commercial viability of processes and technologies.

More information is available on 01502 563368 or score@orbisenergy.co.uk.

Case studies showcasing companies who benefited from the previous £2.5million SCORE programme can be seen at www.scoregrants.co.uk

The current programme is delivered by enterprise experts Nwes in partnership with energy industry experts Nautilus Associates and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

Ends

Issued for SCORE programme by TMS Media.

For further information, please contact:
Robert Bush at SCORE on 01502 509388 or 07980210280 (robert.bush@nwes.org.uk)

Rachel Moore or Steve Scott at TMS Media on 01493 662929 (rachel@tms-media.co.uk or steve.scott@tms-media.co.uk)

Picture caption:

Robert Bush, project manager for the SCORE grant fund, advises oil & gas companies to diversify their expertise to offshore renewables during the industry downturn.

Note to Editors:

The SCORE project has received £3,000,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

About Nwes:

Established in 1982, Nwes is the UK’s largest not-for-profit Enterprise Agency. We work in partnership to provide total business support, boost self-employment and encourage entrepreneurial skills throughout the East of England.

Nwes offers 1-to-1 business advice, a range of business and personal skills training courses, access to finance and serviced business premises, for those wishing to start or grow a business.

To learn more about Nwes, please visit www.nwes.org.uk

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